Who’s Who at AC3–Deanna Braaten

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In our mission to be a safe church for seekers, we sometimes hear those attending say that they don’t know who someone is. We want you to get to know the faces you see around AC3.  We are starting with the Triad, and last time we introduced you to Christian Love. Next up, We have Deanna Braaten, one of our Elders at AC3!

Dea and husband of more than 20 years, Lee
Questions: Spiritually-minded
  • How I clear my mind after a challenging day:

After a difficult, challenging or emotionally charged day, I try to find a quiet place to pray, reflect and confess. I realize that I must force myself sometimes to sit and be still. I am finding that when I seek solitude and silence it helps me to find clarity in my emotions. When I sit in stillness and seek God’s instruction I find peace. I am by nature a problem solver so I work diligently to acknowledge what I must hand over to God and what the Holy Spirit is prompting me if anything to act on. Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.

  • Advice to a person of faith dealing with a broken relationship with their church:

My advice is to first pray for wisdom, discern the root of the brokenness, seek reconciliation, confess where confession is needed and forgive as Jesus forgives.  Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  • When I declared I was going to walk along with God, instead of away from him:

I went under the waters of Baptism in November of 2000. The process of hearing, believing and accepting the Gospel changed the way I approached my marriage, my parenting and my friendships. My acceptance of Jesus as my Lord and Savior and the grace that followed that decision opened up for me not only eternal life but abundant life too. Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

  • Change I’d like to see among Christians today:

I would like to see more Christians today take an active role in caring for widows and orphans. My passion for healthy families is illustrated in that one of my favorite events to witness is Baptism, it is such a celebration to welcome someone into God’s family. Family means so much to God and so it means so much to me. He grafted us in to belong to HIM. (My own childhood was consumed with alcoholism, substance abuse,  physical abuse, child sexual abuse and a myriad of other deeply troubling situations. I will forever be grateful to the family that took me and my sisters in when our whole world came crashing around our heads.)  James 1:27  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

  • Moment I saw significant change in my servant life:

Years ago I read the Book ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ by Brother Lawrence. I do not recall all the details but one item resonated with me especially as a young mother and a new believer. Brother Lawrence found himself in the presence of God in the washing of the pots in the Monastery kitchen. In all that I do within the umbrella of my servant life it comes from my desire to Glorify God and edify others. From the very beginning of my walk in faith I have served, the change in my serving was so subtle that I can barely pinpoint it, I just wanted to make God smile upon me as His good and faithful servant more than I needed the accolades and gold stars from His people.  Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Dea and her family. From left to right, Karli, Chase, Baby Matthew,
Dea, Cadence, Rene’, Caleb, Chyla, Lee, and Chloe.
  • How I found my way to AC3:

In the spring of 2004 my son Chase brought home a flyer with details on a class called Time Out for Parents. It was a parenting forum with resources and testimonies about raising children. This was our first encounter at AC3, but because we already belonged to a church we were not interested in attending. It wasn’t until our own heartache within our church led us back to AC3.

  • Advice I’d give to Younger Me:

Do not live in fear – even if something is scary do it anyway- let my faith be stronger than my fear. Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge

  • Gifting I most admire:
Evangelists inspire me.  I admire the way they can share the Gospel with clarity, purpose and enthusiasm. I love watching boldness in faith balanced with love and grace.

  • Favorite serving experience:

Over the years I have provided childcare during our offering of Dave Ramsey’s FPU. In 2015 I met a little girl named Cadence.  I had no way of knowing then that our meeting would change my life. Years later, Cadence came into my life again and this time became a part of our family. God gave me the opportunity to be the person to her that I needed, but did not have when I was her age. At the time I had no idea that this would turn out to be my favorite serving experience, but today I know that God had a plan for us the moment we met. 1 John 4:7  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

  • What I tell others about serving:

Pray, when it comes to serving nothing will stop you from putting your life into your ministry. Getting our gifts in the game not only honors and glorifies God but enriches our lives. I am not saying there will not be challenges and frustrations but what you give in your serving can bring so much joy, why would you want to miss that? When we serve: we strengthen our communities; our families; our marriages; and our relationship with The Father. We begin a sanctification process, where we start to look more like Jesus. Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

  • Three disciplines/habits that keep me connected to community:

Community means a great deal to me yet I will admit to struggling with interpersonal relationships. Through some difficult self-reflection, I find that the habits of confession keep my relationships in my community transparent. When I not only seek out but also accept offers of fellowship I am strengthening my sense of community by truly knowing someone and being known. And finally, when I pray I draw near to my community through the activity of intercession.

  • Three disciplines/habits that keep me connected to God:

Reading my Bible even when I am tired, distracted or just plain lazy has become a priority in my life. I draw strength from reading the Scriptures. Praising and worshipping and even dancing keeps me connected to God and studying my Bible not only increases my head knowledge but my heart knowledge and this draws me closer to Yahweh.  James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded

Dea and daughter, Chloe
Questions: Secular-minded
  • What book left a lasting impression on you? To Kill a Mockingbird
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Tacos
  • Marvel or DC? Marvel
  • Beach or Mountains? Why?
Beach- for me there is nothing like watching the setting sun while sitting on a beach

  • Favorite season? Why? Spring- the promise of rebirth
  • You can only listen to the same song OR watch the same movie for the rest of your life. What do you choose? Zootopia
  • What is your idea of a dream vacation?

Reading an Emily Giffin book by the poolside after walking the El Camino Santiago in Spain

  • What are your top 3 hobbies? Tap dancing, reading, and gardening
  • What is the last thing you binge-watched? Sherlock
  • Morning person or night owl? Night Owl